International Music


Korean boyband BTS’s performance at the 2017 American Music Awards. No other Korean artist has performed there up until their debut.

Erin McKown

With foreign music artists growing more popular in the United States, Americans are turning their attention from Hollywood to the whole globe. With genres such as K-Pop and Latin music starting to dominate the charts, American youth are becoming more and more involved with foreign music groups. 

“Despacito”, a Spanish song by Puerto Rican artist Luis Fonsi, has over four billion views on YouTube. Latin American boyband CNCO has already won two iHeartRadio Music Awards this year for Best Boyband and Best Remix. Korean boyband BTS became the first Korean group to have won a Billboard Music Award for ‘Top Social Artist’, along with being the first Korean group to perform at the American Music Awards.

Junior Clara Cedillo loves music that’s in Spanish, and believes that songs like “Despacito” are helping to draw in a larger American audience.

“For me, music that’s in Spanish is becoming more popular,” said Cedillo. “People realize after having Hispanic music become popular that there’s more music out there that they should listen to. I have an iPod full of English and Spanish songs, but I listen to Spanish music more than I do English music. Spanish music is better than modern [American] music nowadays, in my opinion.”

Japanese music is also becoming increasingly popular with the help of anime, or Japanese animations. With different styles of music including J-Pop, Nightcore, and vocaloids, millions of viewers have transitioned from Japanese media to Japanese music as well.

Freshman Jillian Schulz frequently listens to Japanese music from vocaloids, or animated singers and bands, her favorite being an eccentric blue-haired artist by the name of Hatsune Miku.

“I like vocaloids, but I don’t think vocaloids are as popular as Nightcore or J-Pop,” Schulz said. “Japanese music is definitely becoming more popular, though. I think anime has a lot of impact on it [Japanese music] spreading, and lots of people are watching anime, so that’s kind of helping it.”

Schulz went on to talk about international music and foreign artists capturing fresh American audiences.

“I think foreign music is definitely more popular than before,” Schulz continued. “Different languages and different songs are becoming popular, and they’re hitting the top charts. That’s influencing more people to listen to different types of songs in different languages. I think this is helping to bring cultures together.”

However, sophomore McKenzie Rigney, who regularly listens to K-Pop, or Korean pop music, fears that extreme exposure in the US can lead to Americanization, and result in her favorite groups losing their personal spunk and styles.

“I really got into K-Pop in eighth grade because it was different and a lot of people liked it on social media,” Rigney said. “I think K-Pop deserves its popularity in the United States, but I don’t want it to lose its uniqueness. I liked the aesthetic that came with the different concepts, and I think more work is put into it with the production and the musics videos compared to American music.”